GEF Grant Targets Serbian Forests

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Serbia’s forests will benefit from a 3.2-million-dollar grant approved by the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which will finance a four-year FAO project aimed at ensuring the long-term health of forests through sustainable management

Forestry is important for Serbia. Almost a third of the country’s territory is covered by forests, and the sector accounts for 2.3 per cent of total gross domestic product. Yet, a national forest inventory in 2009 found forests overall to be in a poor condition, with unfavourable structures, poor health, and a lack of natural regeneration.

This FAO project will help Serbia revise its current development strategy and legislation concerning forests, incorporating sustainability objectives and modern principles of multifunctional forest management. Conserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change will also become important considerations in forestry.

To ensure the smooth implementation of these principles, some 120 experts – forest users and representatives of forestry administration and institutes – will receive FAO training on forest management, including carbon, forest restoration, methods for controlling forest degradation and related topics.

The first area to come under multifunctional forest management could be 80,000 hectares of land in the buffer zone of the Tara National Park. An integrated sustainable forest management plan, to be developed and tested there, should increase forest cover by five per cent, resulting in the sequestration of 954,200 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent. FAO will work in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The FAO project will help Serbia revise its current development strategy and legislation concerning forests, incorporating sustainability objectives and modern principles of multifunctional forest management

Endorsement by the GEF Council clears the way for initial project activities to commence in the coming weeks. Initial activities will include a capacity needs assessment and development of the full-size project.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, GEF has provided $14.5 billion in grants and mobilised $75.4 billion in additional financing for almost 4,000 projects. GEF has become an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organisations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues.

GEF’s 18 implementing partners are: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank (AFDB), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Conservation International (CI), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office – Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (FECO), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (FUNBIO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the West African Development Bank (BOAD), the World Bank Group (WBG), the World Wildlife Fund U.S. (WWF).

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